Students in university-owned accommodation, including Marris House and Windsor Terrace, received an email on 15 April which said:
"We are now contacting students who are more isolated in order to move them to Park View Student Village.
"We are able to do this as a large number of students who originally advised us they were remaining in residence before the lockdown commenced have now left and we have a reduced number remaining in our residence across all of our villages.
"The University has also taken a decision to reduce the number of accommodation sites which are operational during the Covid-19 crisis to enable us to provide the best possible support to students during this time. "
The University detailed the reasons behind their decision, which included wanting to ensure the safety and security of their residents. This is because moving students to one site will ensure that all residents retain access to essential accommodation and security facilities while also requiring less staff on site which makes it safer for accommodation services assistants who have had to cover sites with very few current residents. Furthermore, it is hoped that students will be safer in a busier site rather than potentially being alone in their block.
The University added that the move will also hopefully create a community for students who have been suffering from loneliness during the government-enforced lockdown. The University has however assured students that all UK Government guidelines on social distancing will still be abided by.
Students have been assured that this move will not come at any additional cost to them, and will actually be an upgrade offering improved facilities. Park View was opened in September 2018 at a cost of £75 million, and has 1261 self-catered en-suite bedrooms and 16 single studios between six buildings. A single room with en-suite costs £137.13 a week.
Windsor Terrace resident Muslim Taseer said: "I've been asked to pack up all my things and get ready to be moved to Park View with just five days' notice. Personally I would've preferred to stay where I am but it doesn't seem like the University has given us much choice in the matter. Also, I don't know how good of an idea it is to move everyone closer to one accommodation, as it seems social distancing would be harder to abide by, and it's more dangerous for everyone to be crowded together. I worry especially for immuno-compromised students who may now have to share a flat whereas they were previously alone. I also would've appreciated more notice than just five days or even a say in the matter, but I guess the University has to save money by keeping less buildings open."
The University has asked students who are immuno-compromised to contact them, which suggests that additional measures are being put in place to protect these students.
Students are moving to their new accommodation over the course of the week.